The Town of SPARTA

Pausanias Periegesis Hellados III

[XI.] (1) Farther on from Thornax is the city ( polis ), which was originally named Sparta, but in course of time came to be called Lacedaemon as well, a name which till then belonged to the land....


(2) The Lacedaemonians who live in Sparta have a market-place ( agora ) worth seeing; the council-chamber ( bouleuterion ) of the Senate ( Gerousia ), and the offices ( archeia ) of the Ephors, of the Nomophylakes, and of those called the Bidiaioi are in the Agora. The Gerousia is the council which has the supreme control of the Lacedaemonian constitution, the other officials form the executive. Both the Ephors and the Bidiaioi are five in number; it is customory for the latter to hold competitions for the young men (epheboi), particularly the one held at the place called Planistai (Plane-Tree grove), while the Ephors transact the most serious business, one of them giving his name to the year, just as at Athens this privilege belongs to one of those called the Nine Archons. (3) The most striking feature in the Agora is the portico which they call the Persian Stoa, because it was made from spoils taken in the Persian Wars. In the course of time they have altered it until it is as large and as splendid as it is now. On the pillars are white marble figures of Persians, including Mardonios, son of Gobryas. There is also a figure of Artemisia, daughter of Lygdamis and Queen of Halicarnassos. It is said that this lady voluntarily joined the expedition of Xerxes against Greece and distinguished herself at the naval engagement off Salamis.

(4) On the Agora are temples; there is one of Caesar, the first Roman to covet monarchy and the first emperor under the present constitution, and also one to his son Augustus, who put the empire on a firmer footing, and became a more famous and a more powerful man than his father. His name 'Augustus' translated into Greek is Sebastos.

(5) At the altar of Augustus they show a bronze statue of Agias. This Agias, they say, by divining for Lysander, captured the Athenian fleet at Aegospotami, with the exception of ten ships of war. These made their escape to Cyprus; the Lacedaemonians captured all the rest, along with their crews. Agias was a son of Agelochos, a son of Tisamenos. (6) Tisamenos belonged to the family of the Iamidai at Elis, and an oracle was given to him that he should win five most famous contests. So he trained for the pentathlon at Olympia, but came away defeated. And yet he was first in two events, beating Hieronymus of Andros in running and in jumping. But when he lost the wrestling bout to this competitor, and so missed the prize, he understood what the oracle meant, that the god granted him to win five contests in war by his divinations. The Lacedaemonians, hearing of the oracle the Pythian priestess had given to Tisamenos, persuaded him to migrate from Elis and to be the state-diviner at Sparta. (7) And Tisamenos won them five contests in war. The first was at Plataia [479 B.C.] against the Persians; the second was at Tegea, when the Lacedaemonians had engaged the Tegeans and Argives; the third was at Dipaia, an Arcadian town in Mainalia, when all the Arcadians except the Mantinaeans were arrayed against them. (8) His fourth contest was against the Helots who had rebelled and left the Isthmus for Ithome [464 B.C.]. Not all the Helots revolted, only the Messenian element, which separated itself off from the old Helots. These events I shall relate presently. On the occasion I mention, the Lacedaemonians allowed the rebels to depart under a truce in accordance with the advice of Tisamenos and of the Oracle at Delphi. The last time Tisamenus divined for them was at Tanagra [457 B.C.], an engagement taking place with the Argives and Athenians.

(9) Such I learned was the history of Tisamenos. On their Agora the Spartans have statues of Apollo Pythaeus, of Artemis, and of Leto. This whole area is called the Choros, because at the Gymnopaidiai, a festival which the Lacedaemonians take more seriously than any other, the ephebes perform dances in honor of Apollo. Not far from them is a sanctuary of Ge [Earth] and of Zeus Agoraios, another of Athena Agoraia, and of Poseidon Asphalios, and another of Apollo and Hera. (10) There is also dedicated a colossal statue of the Demos of the Spartiates. The Lacedaemonians also have a sanctuary of the Moirai [Fates], and next to it is the tomb of Orestes, son of Agamemnon. For when the bones of Orestes were brought from Tegea in accordance with an oracle, they were buried here. Beside the grave of Orestes is a statue of Polydoros, son of Alcamenes, a king who rose to such honor that the magistrates seal with his likeness (eikoni) everything that requires sealing. (11) There is also a Hermes Agoraios carrying the child Dionysos; and the Archaia Ephoreia (Old Offices of the Ephors) as it is called, in which are the memorials (mnema) of Epimenides the Cretan and of Aphareus the son of Perieres. As to Epimenides, I think the Lacedaemonian story is more probable than the Argive one. Here, where the Fates are, the Lacedaemonians have the [shrine of] Hestia and of Zeus Xenios and Athena Xenia.


XII. As you leave the Agora by the road they call the Aphetaïd Road, you come to the so-called Boöneta. But my narrative must first explain why the road has this name. It is said that Ikarios proposed a foot-race for the wooers of Penelope; that Odysseus won is plain, but they say that the competitors were let go (aphthenai) for the race along the Aphetaïd Road. (2) In my opinion Ikarios was imitating Danaus.... (3) On this road the Lacedaemonians have, as I have already said, what is called the Boöneta, which once was the house of their king Polydoros. When he died, they bought it from his widow, paying the prince in oxen. For at that time there was as yet neither silver nor gold coinage, but they still bartered in the old way with oxen, slaves, and uncoined silver and gold. (4) Those who sail to India say that the native give other merchandise in exchange for Greek cargoes, knowing nothing about coinage, and that though they have plenty of gold and of bronze.

On the opposite side of the office of the Bidiaioi is a sanctuary of Athena. Odysseus is said to have set up the image and to have named it Keleuthea, when he had beaten the suitors of Penelope in the foot-race. He set up sanctuaries of Keleuthea, three in number, at some distance from each other. (5) Farther along the Aphetaïd Road are hero-shrines of Iops, who is supposed to have been born in the time of Lelex or Myles, and of Amphiaraus the son of Oïkles. The last they think was made by the sons of Tyndareus, for that Amphiaraus was their cousin. There is a hero-shrine of Lelex himself. Not far from these is a temenos of Poseidon of Tainaron, and nearby a small image of Athena which is said to have been dedicated by the colonists who left for Tarantum in Italy. As to the area they call the Hellenion, it has been stated that those of the Greeks who were preparing to repel Xerxes when he was crossing into Europe deliberated at this place how they should resist. The other story is that those who made the expedition against Troy to please Menelaus deliberated here how they could sail out to Troy and exact satisfaction from Alexander for carrying off Helen. (7) Near the Hellenion they point out the tomb of Talthybios. The Achaeans of Aigion, too, say that a tomb which they show on their market-place belongs to Talthybios. It was this Talthybios whose wrath at the murder of the heralds, who were sent to Greece by King Dareios to demand earth and water, left its mark upon the whole state of the Lacedaemonians, but in Athens fell upon individuals, the members of the house of one man, Miltiades the son of Kimon. Miltiades was responsible for the death at the hands of the Athenians of those of the heralds who came to Attica.

(8) The Lacedaemonians have an altar of Apollo Akritas, and a sanctuary (hieron) of Ge, called Gasepton. Above it is set up the Apollo Maleates. At the end of the Aphetaïd Road, quite close to the wall, are a sanctuary of Dictynna and the royal graves of those called the Eurypontidai . Beside the Hellenion is a sanctuary of Arsinoë, daughter of Leucippos and sister of the wives of Polydeukes and Kastor. At the place called Phrouroi ['The Forts'] is a temple of Artemis, and a little farther on has been built a tomb for the diviners from Elis, called the Iamidai. There is also a sanctuary of Maron and of Alpheios. They consider that these men distinguished themselves in the fighting, of the Lacedaemonians who served at Thermopylae, more than any save Leonidas himself. The sanctuary of Zeus Tropaios (He who turns to flight) was made by the Dorians, when they had conquered in war the Amyclaeans, as well as the other Achaeans, who at that time occupied Lakonia. The sanctuary of the Great Mother has paid to it the most extraordinary honors. After it come the hero-shrines of Hippolytos, son of Theseus, and of the Arkadian Aulon, son of Tlesimenes. Some say that Tlesimenes was a brother, others a son of Parthenopaios, son of Melanion.


(10) Leading from the Agora is another road, on which they have built what is called Skias ["Canopy"] where even at the present day they hold their meetings of the Assembly. This Skias was made, they say, by Theodoros of Samos who discovered the melting of iron and the molding of images from it. Here the Lacedaemonians hung the harp of Timotheus of Miletus, to express their disapproval of his innovation in harping, the addition of four strings to the seven old ones. (11) By the Skias is a circular building, and in it images of Zeus and Aphrodite surnamed Olympian. This, they say, was set up by Epimenides, but their account of him does not agree with that of the Argives, for the Lacedaemonians deny that they ever fought with the Knossians. [XIII] Hard by is the grave of Kynortas, son of Amyklas, together with the tomb of Kastor, and over the tomb there has also been made a sanctuary, for they say that it was not before the fortieth year after the fight with Idas and Lynkeus that divine honors were paid to the sons of Tyndareus. By the Skias is also shown the grave of Idas and Lynkeus. Now it fits in best with their history to hold that they were buried not here but in Messenia. (2) But the disasters of the Messenians, and the length of their exile from the Peloponnesus, even after their return wrapped in darkness much of their ancient history, and their ignorance makes it easy for any who wish to dispute a claim with them.

Opposite the Olympian Aphrodite the Lacedaemonians have a temple of the Savior Maid (Kore Soteira). Some say that it was made by Orpheus the Thracian, others by Abaris when he had come from the Hyperboreans. (3) Karneios, whom they surname Oiketas ('of the house'), had honors at Sparta even before the return of the Herakleidai, his seat being in the house of a seer, Krios, the son of Theokles. The daughter of this Krios was met as she was filling her pitcher by spies of the Dorians, who entered into conversation with her, visited Krios and learned from him how to capture Sparta. (4) The cult of Apollo Karneios has been established among all the Dorians ever since Karnos, an Acarnanian by birth, who was a seer of Apollo. When he was killed by Hippotes the son of Phylas, the wrath of Apollo fell upon the camp of the Dorians; Hippotes went into banishment because of the bloodguilt, and from this time the custom was established among the Dorians of propitiating the Acarnanian seer. But this Karnos is not the Lacedaemonian Karneios of the House, who was worshipped in the house of Krios the seer while the Achaeans were still in possession of Sparta. (5) The poetess Praxilla represents Karneios as the son of Europa, Apollo and Leto being his nurses. There is also another account of the name; in Trojan Ida there grew in a grove of Apollo cornel-trees, which the Greeks cut down to make the Wooden Horse. Learning that the god was angry with them they propitiated him with sacrifices and named Apollo Karneios from the tree (kraneion), a custom prevalent in the olden time making them transpose the -r- and the -a-.

(6) Not far from the Karneios is what is called the statue of Aphetaios. Here they say was the starting place of the race run by the suitors of Penelope. There is a place having its porticoes in the form of a square, where of old stuff used to be sold to the people. By this is an altar of Zeus Amboulios and Athena Amboulia, also of the Dioskouroi, likewise named Amboulioi (Counsellors). (7) Opposite is what is called Kolonos (the Knoll), with a temple of Dionysos Kolonates, next to which is a precinct of the hero who they say guided Dionysos on his way to Sparta. To this hero sacrifices are offered before they are offered to the god by the daughters of Dionysos and the daughters of Leukippos. For the other eleven ladies who are named daughters of Dionysos there is held a footrace; this custom came to Sparta from Delphi. (8) Not far from the Dionysos is a sanctuary of Zeus Euanemos ('of fair wind'), on the right of which is the hero-shrine of Pleuron. The sons of Tyndareus were descended on their mother's side from Pleuron, for Asios in his poem says that Thestios, the father of Leda was the son of Agenor the son of Pleuron. Not far from the hero-shrine is a hill, and on the hill a temple of Argive Hera, set up, they say, by Eurydice, the daughter of Lakedaimon and the wife of Akrisios the son of Abas. An oracular utterance cause to be built a sanctuary of Hera Hypercheiria ('she whose hand is above') at a time when the Eurotas was flooding a great part of the land. An old wooden image they call that of Aphrodite Hera. (9) A mother is wont to sacrifice to the goddess when a daughter is married. On the road to the right of the hill is a statue of Hetoimokles. Both Hetoimokles himself and his father Hipposthenes won Olympic victories for wrestling; the two together won eleven, but Hipposthenes succeeded in beating his son by one victory.


[XIV.] On going westwards from the Agora is the cenotaph of Brasidas the son of Tellis. Not far from it is the Theater, made of white marble and worth seeing. Opposite the theater are two tombs; the first is that of Pausanias, the general at Plataia, the second is that of Leonidas. Every year they deliver speeches over them, and hold a contest in which none may compete except Spartiates. The bones of Leonidas were taken by Pausanias from Thermopylae forty years after the battle. There is set up a stele with the names and their fathers' names, of those who endured the fight at Thermopylae against the Persians. There is in Sparta a place called Theomelida. (2) In this part of the city are the graves of the Agiad Kings , and near is what is called the the Lesche of the Krotanoi, who form a part of the Pitanatans. Not far from the Lesche is a sanctuary of Asklepios, called 'in [the place of] the Agiadai'. Farther on is the tome of Tainaros, after whom they say the headland was named that juts out into the sea. Here are sanctuaries of Poseidon Hippokourios ['horse-tending'] and of Artemis Aiginaia. On returning toward the Lesche, you see a sanctuary of Artemis Issoria. They also give her the eponym Limnaia, though she is not Artemis, but Britomartis of Krete. I deal with her in my account of Aigina. (3) Very near to the tombs which have been built for the Agiadai you will see a stele, on which are written the victories in the foot-race won, at Olympia and elsewhere, by Chionis the Lacedaemonian. The Olympian victories were seven, four in the single-stadion race and three in the double-stadion (diaulosrace. The race with the shield that takes place at the end of the contest was not at that time one of the events. It is said that Chionis also took part in the expedition of Battos of Thera, helped him to found Kyrene and to reduce the neighboring Libyans. (4) The Sanctuary of Thetis was set up, they say, for the following reason. The Lacedaemonians were making war against the Messenians, who had revolted, and their king Anaxander, having invaded Messenia, took as prisoners certain women, and among them Kleo, priestess of Thetis. This Kleo the wife of Anaxander asked for from her husband, and discovering that she had the wooden image of Thetis, she set up with her a temple for the goddess. This Leandris did because of a vision in a dream, (5) but the wooden image of Thetis is guarded in secret. The cult of Demeter Chthonia ('of the Underworld') the Lacedaemonians say was handed on to them by Orpheus, but in my opinion it was because of the sanctuary in Hermione that the Lacedaemonians also began to worship Demeter Chthonia. The Spartiates have also a sanctuary of Sarapis, the newest sanctuary in the city, and one of Zeus surnamed Olympios.

(6) The Lacedaemonians give the name Dromos to the place where it is the custom for the young men even down to the present day to practise running. As you go to this Dromos from the cemetery of the Agiadai, you see on the left the tomb of Eumedes–this Eumedes was one of the children of Hippocoön–and also an old image of Herakles, to whom sacrifice is paid by the Sphaireis . These are those who are just passing from youth (ephebôn) to manhood. In the Dromos are two gymnastic schools, one being a votive gift of Eurykles, a Spartiate. Outside the Dromos, next to the statue of Herakles, there is a house belonging now to a private individual, but in olden times to Menelaus. Farther away from the Dromos are sanctuaries of the Dioskouroi, of the Graces, of Eileithuyia, of Apollo Karneios, and of Artemis Hegemone. (7) The sanctuary of Agnitas has been made on the right of the Dromos. Agnitas is a surname of Asklepios, because the god had a wooden image made of agnus castus. The agnus is a willow like the thorn. Not far from Asklepios stands a trophy, raised, they say, by Polydeukes to celebrate his victory over Lynkeus. This is one of the pieces of evidence that confirm my statement that the sons of Aphareus were not buried in Sparta. At the beginning of the Dromos are the Dioskouroi Apheterioi ('Starters'), and a little farther on a hero-shrine of Alkôn, who they say was a son of Hippocoön.

Beside the shrine of Alkôn is a sanctuary of Poseidon, whom they surname Domatiates ('of the House'). (8) And there is a place called Planistai from the unbroken right of tall plane trees growing round it. The place itself, where it is customary for the youths to fight, is surrounded by a moat just like an island in the sea; you enter it by bridges. On each side of the two bridges stand statues; on one side an image of Herakles, on the other a statue of Lycurgus. Among the laws (nomous) Lycurgus laid down for the constitution are those regulating the fighting of the youths. (9) There are other acts performed by the youths, which I will now describe. Before the fighting they sacrifice in the Phoibaion, which is outside the city, not far distant from Therapne. Here each company of youths sacrifices a puppy to Enyalios, holding that the most valiant of tame animals is an acceptable victim to the most valiant of the gods. I know of no other Greeks who are accustomed to sacrifice puppies except the people of Kolophon; these too sacrifice a puppy, a black bitch, to the Goddess of the Wayside. Both the sacrifice of the Kolophonians and that of the youths at Sparta are appointed to take place at night. (10) At the sacrifice the youths set trained boars to fight; the company whose boar happens to win generally gains the victory in the Platananista. Such are the performances in the Phoibaion. A little before the middle of the next day they enter by the bridges into the place I have mentioned. They cast lots during the night to decide by which entrance each band is to go in. In fighting they use their hands, kick with their feet, bite, and gouge out the eyes of their opponents. Man to man they fight in the way I have described, but in the mellay they charge violently and push one another into the water.

[XV.] At the Platananista there is also a hero-shrine of Kyniska, daughter of Archidamos, king of the Spartans. She was the first woman to breed horses, and the first to win a chariot race at Olympia. Behind the stoa built by the side of the Platananista are other hero-shrines, of Alkimos, of Enaraiphoros, at a little distance away one of Dorkeus, and close to it one of Sebros. On the right of the Sebrion is the tomb of Alkman, the lyric poet, the charm of whose works was into in the least spoilt by the Lakonian dialect, which is the least musical of them all. There are sanctuaries of Helen and of Herakles; the former is near the grave of Alkman, the latter is quite close to the wall and contains an armed image of Herakles. the attitude of the image is due, they say, to the fight with Hippocoön and his sons. The enmity of Herakles towards the family of Hippocoön is said to have spring out of their refusing to cleanse him when he came to Sparta for cleansing after the death of Iphitos. The following incident, too, helped to begin the feud. Oionos, a stripling cousin of Herakles–he was the son of Likymnios the brother of Alkmene–came to Sparta along with Herakles, and went round to view the city. When he came to the house of Hippocoön, a house-dog attacked him. Oionos happened to throw a stone which knocked over the dog. So the sons of Hippocoön ran out, and dispatched Oionos with their clubs. (5) This made Herakles most bitterly angry with Hippocoön and his sons, and straightaway, angry as he was, he set out to give them battle. On this occasion he was wounded, and made good his retreat by stealth; but afterwards he made an expedition against Sparta and succeeded in avenging himself on Hippocoön and also on the sons of Hippocoön for their murder of Oionos. The tomb of Oionos is built by the side of the sanctuary of Herakles.

(6) As you go from the Dromos towards the east, there is a path on the right, with a sanctuary of Athena called Axiopoinos ('Just Requital'). For when Herakles, in avenging himself on Hippocoön and his sons, had inflicted upon them a just requital for their treatment of his relative, he founded a sanctuary of Athena, and surnamed her Axiopoinos because the ancients used to call vengeance ( timôria ) poinai. There is another sanctuary of Athena on another road from the Dromos. It was dedicated, they say, by Theras son of Autesion son of Tisamenos son of Thersander, when he was leading a colony to the island now called Thera after him, the name of which in ancient times was Kalliste ('Fairest'). (7) Near is a temple ( naos ) of Hipposthenes, who won so many victories in wrestling. They worship Hipposthenes in accordance with an oracle, paying him honors as to Poseidon. Opposite this temple is an old image of Enyalios in fetters. The idea the Lacedaemonians express by this image is the same as the Athenians express by their Wingless Victory; the former think that Enyalios will never run away from them, being bound in the fetters, while the Athenians think that their Victory, having no wings, will always remain where she is.

(8) In this fashion, and with such a belief, have these cities set up the wooden images. In Sparta is a Lesche called Poikile ('Painted') and by it hero-shrines of Kadmos the son of Agenor, and of his descendants Oiolykos son of Theras and Aegeus son of Oiolykos. They are said to have been made by Maisis, Lakas and Europas, sons of Hyraios, son of Aegeus. They made for Amphilochos too his hero-shrine, because their ancestor Tisamenos, had for his mother Demonassa, the sister of Amphilochos.

(9) The Lacedaemonians are the only Greeks who surname Hera Aigophagôn ('Goat-Eater'), and sacrifice goats to the goddess. They say that Herakles founded the sanctuary and was the first to sacrifice goats, because in his fight against Hippocoön and his children he met with no hindrance from Hera, although in his other adventures he thought that the goddess opposed him. He sacrificed goats, they say, because he lacked other kinds of victims. (10) Not far from the Theater is a sanctuary of Poseidon Genethlios (God of Kin), and there are hero-shrines of Kleodaios, son of Hyllos, and of Oibalos. The most famous of their sanctuaries of Asklepios has been built near Boöneta, and on the left is the hero-shrine of Teleklos. I shall mention him again later in my history of Messenia. A little farther on is a small hill, on which is an ancient temple with a wooden image of Aphrodite armed. This is the only temple I know that has an upper story built upon it. (11) It is a sanctuary of Morpho, a surname of Aphrodite, who sits wearing a veil and with fetters on her feet. The story is that fetters were put on her by Tyndareus, who symbolized by the bonds the faithfulness of wives to their husbands. The other account, that Tyndareus punished the goddess with fetters because he thought that from Aphrodite had come the shame of his daughters, I will not admit for a moment. For it were surely altogether silly to expect to punish the goddess by making a cedar figure and naming it Aphrodite.

[XVI.] Nearby is a sanctuary of Hilaeira and of Phoibe. The author of the poem Kypria calls them daughters of Apollo. Their priestesses are young maidens, called, as are also the goddesses, Leukippides. One of the images was adorned by a Leucippis who had served the goddesses as a priestess. She gave it a face of modern workmanship instead of the old one; she was forbidden by a dream to adorn the other one as well. Here there has been hung from the roof an egg tied to ribands, and they say that it is the famous egg that legend says Leda brought forth. (2) Each year the women weave a tunic for the Apollo at Amyclae, and they call Chitôn the chamber in which they do their weaving. Near it is built a house, said to have been occupied originally by the sons of Tyndareus, but afterwards it was acquired by Phormion, a Spartiate. To him came the Dioskouroi in the likeness of strangers. They said that they had come from Kyrene, and asked to lodge with him, requesting to have the chamber which had pleased them most when they dwelt among men. He replied that they might lodge in any other part of the house they wished, but that they could not have the chamber. For it so happened that his maiden daughter was living in it. But the next day this maiden and all her girlish apparel had disappeared, and in the room were found images of the Dioskouroi, a table, and silphium upon it. (4) Such is the story.

As you go from Chitôn in the direction of the gate there is a hero-shrine of Cheilon, who is considered one of the Seven Sages, and also of Athenodoros, one of those who with Dorieus the son of Anaxandrides set out for Sicily. The reason of their setting out was that they held that the Erycine district belonged to the descendants of Herakles and not to the foreigners who held it. The story is that Herakles wrestled with Eryx on these terms: if Herakles won, the land of Eryx was to belong to him; but if he were beaten, Eryx was to depart with the cows of Geryon; ( 5) for Herakles at the time was driving these away, and when they swam across to Sicily he too crossed over in search of them near the bent olive-tree. The favor of heaven was more partial to Herakles than it was afterwards to Dorieus the son of Anaxandridas; Herakles killed Eryx, but Dorieus himself and the greater part of his army were destroyed by the Egestaeans.

(6) The Lacedaemonians have also made a sanctuary for Lycurgus, who drew up the laws, looking upon him as a god. Behind the temple is the grave of Eukosmos the son of Lycurgus, and by the altar the grave of Lathria and Anaxandra. Now these were themselves twins, and therefore the sons of Aristodemos, who also were twins likewise, took them to wife; they were daughters of Thersander son of Agamemdidas, king of the Kleonians and great-grandson of Ktesippos son of Herakles. Opposite the temple is the tomb of Theopompos son of Nikander, and also that of Eurybiades, who commanded the Lacedaemonian warships that fought the Persians at Artemisium and Salamis. Nearby is what is called the hero-shrine of Astrabakos.


(7) The place named Limnaion ('marshy') is sacred to Artemis Orthia . The wooden image there they say is that which once Orestes and Iphigenia stole out of the Tauric land, and the Lacedaemonians say that it was brought to their land because there also Orestes was king. I think their story is more probable than that of the Athenians. For what could have induced Iphigenia to leave the image behind at Brauron? Or why did the Athenians, when they were preparing to abandon their land, fail to include this image in what they put on board their ships? (8) And yet, right down to the present day, the fame of the Tauric goddess has remained so high that the Cappadocians dwelling on the Euxine claim that the image is among them, a like claim being made by those Lydians also who have a sanctuary of Artemis Anaiïtis. But the Athenians, we are asked to believe, made light of it becoming booty of the Persians. For the image at Brauron was brought to Susa, and afterwards Seleucus gave it to the Syrians of Laodicea, who still possess it. (9) I will give other evidence that the Orthia in Lacedaemon is the wooden image from the foreigners. Firstly, Astrabakos and Alopekos, son of Irbos, son of Amphisthenes, son of Amphikles, son of Agis, when they found the image straightaway became insane. Secondly, the Spartan Limnatians, the Kynosurians, and the people of Mesoa and Pitane, while sacrificing to Artemis, fell to quarreling, which led also to bloodshed; many were killed at the altar and the rest died of disease. (10) Whereat an oracle was delivered to them, that they should stain the altar with human blood. He used to be sacrificed upon whomsoever the lot fell, but Lycurgus changed the custom to a scourging of the lads, and so in this way the altar is stained with human blood. By them stands the priestess, holding the wooden image. (11) Now it is small and light, but if ever the scourgers spare the lash because of a lad's beauty or high rank, then at once the priestess finds the image grow so heavy that she can hardly carry it. She lays the blame on the scourgers, and says that it is their fault that she is being weighed down. So the image ever since the sacrifices in the Tauric land keeps its fondness for human blood. They call it not only Orthia, but also Lygodesma ('willow-bound'), because it was found in a thicket of willows, and the encircling willow made the image stand upright. [XVII.] Not far from the Orthia is a sanctuary of Eileithyia. They say that they built it, and came to worship Eileithyia as a goddess, because of an oracle from Delphi.


The Lacedaemonians have no acropolis rising to a conspicuous height like the Cadmea at Thebes and the Larisa at Argos. There are, however, hills in the city, and the highest of them [ca. 20 m. above the plain] they call the Acropolis. (2) Here is built a sanctuary of Athena, who is called both Poliouxos ('City-protecting') and Chalkioikos ('Lady of the Bronze House'). The building of the sanctuary was begun, they say, by Tyndareus. On his death his children were desirous of making a second attempt to complete the building, and the resources they intended to use were the spoils of Aphidna. They too left it unfinished, and it was many years afterwards that the Lacedaemonians made of bronze both the temple and the image of Athena. The builder was Gitidas, a native of Sparta, who also composed Dorian lyrics, including a hymn to the goddess. (3) On the bronze are wrought in relief many of the labors of Herakles and many of the voluntary exploits he successfully carried out, besides the rape of the daughters of Leukippos and other achievements of the sons of Tyndareus. There is also Hephaistos releasing his mother from the fetters. The legend about this I have already related in my history of Attica. There are also represented nymphs bestowing upon Perseus, who is starting on his enterprise against Medusa in Libya, a cap and the shoes by which he was to be carried through the air. There are also wrought the birth of Athena, Amphitrite, and Poseidon, the largest figures and those which I thought the best worth seeing. (4) There is here another sanctuary of Athena; her surname is Erganes ('the Worker'). As you go to the south portico there is a temple of Zeus surnamed Kosmetas ('Orderer'), and before it is the tomb of Tyndareus. The west portico has two eagles, and upon them are two Victories. Lysander dedicated them to commemorate both his exploits; the one was off Ephesos, when he conquered Antiochos, the captain of Alkibiades, and the Athenian warships; and the second occurred later, when he destroyed the Athenian fleet at Aigospotamoi.

(5) On the left of the Chalkioikos they have set up a sanctuary of the Muses, because the Lacedaemonians used to go out to fight, not to the sound of the trumpet, but to the music of the flute and the accompaniment of lyre and harp. Behind the Chalkioikos is a temple of Aphrodite Areia ('Warlike'). The wooden images are as old as any in Greece. (6) On the right of the Chalkioikos has been set up an image of Zeus Hypatos, the oldest image that is made of bronze. It is not wrought in one piece. Each of the limbs has been hammered separately; these are fitted together, being prevented from coming apart by nails. They say that the artist was Klearchos of Rhegium, who is said by some to have been a pupil of Dipoinos and Skyllis, by others of Daidalos himself. By what is called the Skenôma ('Tent') there is a statue of a woman, whom the Lacedaemonians say is Euryleonis. She won a victory at Olympia with a two-horse chariot.

(7) By the side of the altar of the Chalkioikos stand two statues of Pausanias, the general at Plataia. His history, as it is known, I will not relate. The accurate accounts of my predecessors suffice; I shall content myself with adding to them what I heard from a man of Byzantium. Pausanias was detected in his treachery, and was the only suppliant of the Chalkioikos who failed to win security, solely because he had been unable to wipe away a defilement of bloodshed. (8) When he was cruising about the Hellespont with the Lacedaemonian and allied fleets, he fell in love with a Byzantine maiden. And straightaway at the beginning of night Kleonike–that was the girl's name–was brought by those who had been ordered to do so. But Pausanias was asleep at the time and the noise awoke him. For as she came to him she unintentionally dropped her lighted lamp. And Pausanias, conscious of his treason to Greece, and therefore always nervous and fearful, jumped up then and struck the girl with his sword. (9) From this defilement Pausanias could not escape, although he underwent all sorts of purifications, and became a suppliant of Zeus Phyxios ('Zeus of Flight'), and finally went to the psychagogues (wizards) at Phigalia in Arkadia; but he paid a fitting penalty to Kleonike and to the god. The Lacedaemonians, in fulfilment of a command from Delphi, had the bronze images made and honor the daimôn Epidotes ('Bountiful'), saying that it was this Epidotes that turns aside the wrath that Hikesios (the God of Suppliants) shows because of Pausanias.

[XVIII.] Near the statues of Pausanias is an image of Aphrodite Amoblogera ('Postponer of Old-Age'), which was set up in accordance with an oracle; there are also images of Hypnos and Thanatos. They think them brothers, in accordance with the verses in the Iliad. (2) As you go towards what is called the Alpion is a temple of Athena Ophthalmitis ('Goddess of the Eye'). They say that Lycurgus dedicated it when one of his eyes had been struck out by Alkander, because the laws he had made happened not to find favor with Alkander. Having fled to this place he was saved by the Lacedaemonians from losing his remaining eye, and so he made this temple of Athena Ophthalmitis. (3) Farther on from here is a sanctuary of Ammon. From the first the Lacedaemonians are known to have used the oracle in Libya more than any other Greeks. It is said also that when Lysander was besieging Aphytis in Pallene Ammon appeared by night and declared that it would be better for him and for Lacedaemon if they ceased from warring against Aphytis. And so Lysander raised the siege, and induced the Lacedaemonians to worship the god still more. The people of Aphytis honor Ammon no less than the Ammonian Libyans.

(4) The story of Artemis Knagia is as follows. Knageus, they say, was a native who joined the Dioskouroi in their expedition against Aphidna. Being taken prisoner in the battle and sold into Krete, he lived as a slave where the Kretans had a sanctuary of Artemis; but in course of time he ran away in the company of the maiden priestess, who took the image with her. It is for this reason that they name Artemis Knagia. (5) But I am of the opinion that Knageus came to Krete in some other way, and not in the manner the Lacedaemonians state; for I do not think there was a battle at Aphidna at all, Theseus being detained among the Thesprotians and the Athenians not being unanimous, their sympathies inclining towards Menestheus. Moreover, even if a fight occurred, nobody would believe that prisoners were taken from the conquerors, especially as the victory was overwhelming, so that Aphidna was captured.

(6) I must now end my criticisms. As you go down to Amyklai from Sparta you come to a river called Tiasa . . . .

adapted from W. Jones & H. Omerod, Pausanias Volume II, LCL (1926)]


© 08/15/01


January 23, 2010 10:54 PM

John Paul Adams, CSUN

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